I missed Reason TV’s latest Nanny of the Month when they published it last week, but it’s worth a look. After a years-long spate of cases involving teachers who sexually exploit their students — which would be illegal when the students are underage anyway — a Michigan legislator decided to expand the law to make consensual sex between teachers and adult students a felony as well, punishable by up to 15 years in prison:
This month’s nannies include drug warriors who are hyping fears about “digital” drugs (i.e. not actual physical substances) and fat warriors who are using a talking plate (introducing Mandometer!) to pester chubby folks into eat properly.
But this month’s top dishonors go to the Wolverine State pol whose so-called “Hot for Teacher” bill could end up criminalizing sex between consenting adults of legal age.
Huh? Since Lawrence v Texas, there is very little basis for regulating consensual sex between unrelated adults, as long as there is no commercial element (prostitution). While a school district could certainly enforce employment policies that forbid such fraternization and terminate teachers who violate such policies (to the extent that schools can actually fire teachers at all), making this kind of contact a felony and presumably assigning sex-offender status to the participant is patently absurd. States set ages of legal consent for a reason, which is that the law presumes not to interfere with personal choices made at ages where the state feels an individual has enough maturity to make those decisions for themselves. If the age of consent is the issue, then raise it, but criminalizing consensual, non-commercial sexual relations between unrelated adults — especially at a level of a felony — is unsupportable.